John U. Bacon is a best-selling author, sports commentator, teacher and lifelong resident of Ann Arbor.
He has published several sports-related nonfiction books, most of them focused on the University of Michigan's football program and college athletics. His most recent book – "Endzone: The Rise, Fall and Return of Michigan Football" – was published in September 2015.
Other books include "Fourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football" (2013); "Three and Out: Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines in the Crucible of College Football" (2011); and "Bo’s Lasting Lessons: The Legendary Coach Teaches the Timeless Fundamentals of Leadership" (2007).
In addition to books, Bacon has written for the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, ESPN Sports and other national publications. He began his career in journalism covering high school sports for The Ann Arbor News, and later was a sports features writer for the Detroit News. From 2008-2014 his columns were published in the Ann Arbor Chronicle.
In 2002, he launched a Sunday morning sports talk show on WTKA (1050 AM in Ann Arbor/Detroit) called “Off the Field.” He started a weekly commentary for Michigan Radio in 2007. Bacon also is a frequent guest commentator on national sports radio and TV programs, including spots on HBO, ESPN, and the Big Ten Network.
Bacon also teaches at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and the University of Michigan. His popular UM courses include "The History of College Athletics," “The Rise and Fall of American Sportswriting,” and “The Art and Craft of Sportswriting." In 2009 he received UM's Golden Apple teaching award.
In 2014 he married Christie Breitner, a nonprofit administrator. The couple lives in the Water Hill neighborhood. They are expecting their first child in the fall of 2015.
In the news
Ann Arbor's John U. Bacon talks about his next book, his (growing) family and more – MLive, Sept. 3, 2015
"Fear and Passion" – talk given at TEDxDetroit, February 2014
"The Past, the Future, and Why Human Nature Doesn’t Change" – talk given at TEDxUofM, May 2013
September 2015: Publication of "Endzone: The Rise, Fall and Return of Michigan Football."
2013: Publication of "Fourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football."
May 2013: Gives TEDxUofM talk titled "The Past, the Future, and Why Human Nature Doesn’t Change."
2009: Wins the University of Michigan Golden Apple teaching award.
2007: Is was inducted into the Huron River Rat Hall of Fame.
2007: Publication of "Bo’s Lasting Lessons: The Legendary Coach Teaches the Timeless Fundamentals of Leadership."
2007: Begins weekly commentary with Michigan Radio.
2006: Develops and begins teaching the course "The History of College Athletics" – at the University of Michigan. Over the years it becomes one of the university's most popular courses, with the longest wait list of any other course offered at UM's Ann Arbor campus.
2006: Publication of "Cirque du Soleil: The Spark."
September 2005: Begins 8-month fellowship with the University of Michigan Knight-Wallace Fellows program, where he was the first recipient of the Benny Friedman Fellowship for Sports Journalism, During that time he finished the book "Bo's Lasting Lessons."
2004: Publication of the book "America’s Corner Store: Walgreen’s Prescription for Success."
2002: Launches a Sunday morning sports talk show on WTKA (1050 AM in Ann Arbor/Detroit) called “Off the Field.”
2001: Publication of the book "Blue Ice: The Story of Michigan Hockey."
DATE? Coaches the hockey team for Huron High School.
1995: Becomes Sunday sports features writer for the Detroit News.
1994: Earns master's degree in education from the University of Michigan.
DATE? Covers high school sports for the Ann Arbor News.
1986: Earns undergraduate degree in history from the University of Michigan.
1980s: Attends Huron High School and plays on the school's hockey team.
1964: Is born in Ann Arbor, the youngest of three children. His parents, George and Grace Bacon, had moved to Ann Arbor the previous year. George Bacon was a pediatrician who worked for C. S. Mott's Children's Hospital for most of his career.